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School history book contains inaccurate Troubles dates

The Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974 caused the greatest loss of life in a single day of the Troubles

A NEW history school text book covering the Troubles contains several inaccurate dates for key events including the death of Bobby Sands.

Making History, which publishers say "provides everything you need for Junior Cycle History", contains a chapter on the Troubles with numerous errors.

It also makes no mention of the no-warning Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the deadliest atrocity in the Republic.

The chapter on the Troubles covers the escalation of violence after October 5 1968 up to the Good Friday Agreement.

It includes a "chronological awareness" timeline, which states Bobby Sands died in 1982, the year after his death.

In addition, it says the McGurk's bar bombing in north Belfast, in which 15 people were killed, took place in 1969, and not 1971 when it happened.

It further states that the Downing Street Declaration was signed in 1981 - 12 years before it was agreed in 1993.

Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan, a a former history teacher, said she was "very taken aback". Ms O'Sullivan chairs an unofficial cross-party Dáil committee on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

"In my teaching days, I would never have come across something like that, that sort of inaccuracy," she told the Irish Times.

She added that the book read like the Troubles "didn't really affect the 26 counties" and said Dublin and Monaghan was "a glaring omission".

"This was the single biggest atrocity in the history of the Republic. This is part of our history and it is not in the history books," she said.

Margaret Urwin from the victims group Justice for the Forgotten, said the omission was "absolutely incredible".

"They don't include it at all. They have literally airbrushed it out of history," she said.

"Surely, there should be some oversight of text books from the Department of Education. I think it is appalling."

Publishers Gill said it would check out any inaccuracies and added "if there are any issues we will have them corrected as soon as practical".

The publisher said it could not comment on its process for fact checking school books for inaccuracies as such information was commercially sensitive.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment said there was no body or agency in Ireland charged with vetting textbooks.

While it advises the Department of Education on curriculum and assessment, its statutory brief does not cover either textbook production or vetting.

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